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Embrace Families CBC proudly serves as the state-designated lead agency for child welfare services in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties, Florida. The organization works to prevent child abuse and neglect, to strengthen families, and to care for our community’s children in foster care.  Since 2004, Embrace Families CBC has designed a continuum of care which is family-centered, strengths-based, and community-driven. Our goals are to ensure safety, provide permanency, and maintain the well-being of the children served by child welfare. Our objectives are to divert the need for children to enter formal out-of-home care, and to improve outcomes for those children who must formally enter care.

Our core programs include: foster home licensing, diversion/family support services, out-of-home services (foster care), kinship services, youth services, and adoption. Additionally, Embrace Families CBC oversees Keys to Independence, a pioneering statewide project dedicated to increasing the number of teens in foster care with driver’s licenses.

Visit our Central Florida Foundation portrait to learn more about our goals, impact and plans for the future.

For information on the financials of Embrace Families CBC, click here. For lead agency public disclosures, click here.

Services

Embrace Families CBC provides substantial support to those caring individuals and families who provide safe, stable homes for children who enter foster care due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. In partnership with our Child Placing Agency Partners, our recruitment and licensing team offers training, dedicated resources and access to services for foster families.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, click here.

The goal of our diversion program is to help stabilize and strengthen families before the need for removal occurs. Each family is assigned a Family Support Specialist. Together, they work closely to identify root causes of those conditions that place the child(ren) at-risk. For example, a family struggling with financial issues will receive help in obtaining benefits, such as Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program aid (SNAP), Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Other strategies to address common risk factors include parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, and family therapy.

By preventing the need for children to enter foster care, Embrace Families CBC puts the long-term well-being and development of the child front and center. Diversion stabilizes the family unit and provides supports and services needed to maintain the child in the home, while ensuring the immediate and long-term protection of the child’s permanency, safety, and well-being. Services are provided to children and their families utilizing evidence-based, solution-focused models.

Children who must be removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect are either placed in licensed foster care (i.e., foster families, residential group homes) or with non-licensed relative caregivers.

Our partners in delivering case management services to children in foster care and their families are: Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services; One Hope United, Inc.; Devereux Foundation of Florida; and Children’s Home Society of Florida. Together these four agencies employ approximately 185 case management personnel who work closely with Embrace Families CBC staff to identify appropriate services for dependent youth and their families, including but not limited to: recommended therapies, educational supports, medical needs, extracurricular activities, and other activities and services that promote normalcy and help to achieve permanency.

Relatives who provide a safe home for young family members at risk of entry into the licensed foster care system are important partners to Embrace Families CBC. Children placed with relatives have a greater chance of reunification with their families and experiencing positive outcomes.

Embrace Families’ Kinship Services supports the unique needs of these relatives to ensure they are able to offer a stable placement for the child(ren). Our partner in delivering these services is Children’s Home Network (CHN), a national leader in support for relative caregivers. Kinship Services pairs relative caregivers with Family Support Coordinators, who ensure relatives are equipped to navigate the child welfare system, access available resources, and monitor their own health and well-being. Additionally, Kinship Services hosts peer support groups for relative caregivers throughout the Central Florida area, an important opportunity to learn from one another.

While we strive for permanency on behalf of all youth in care, the reality is that some of our young people will turn 18 while in foster care.  Youth Services works to fill the gaps for those who do not have forever families to guide them, providing additional services and supports for youth ages 13-22. In addition to transition planning as teens near their 18th birthday, Youth Services spearheads multiple initiatives designed to support adolescents in care, including mentoring, job readiness, housing, educational enrichment and college coaches.

Embrace Families’ Youth Services team also manages Keys to Independence, a statewide program designed to help youth in licensed foster care overcome barriers to earning their driver’s license.

For more about our Youth Services programs, click here

When a child must enter foster care, our first priority is to work towards reunification with the child’s parents and family. If that is not possible, and a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) is granted through the courts, then Embrace Families CBC works with community partners to identify a permanent, loving forever family for the child – either through legal guardianship or formal adoption.

Embrace Families CBC works with both the Heart Gallery of Central Florida and WFTV’s Forever Family news segment to ensure that our community is aware of the need to identify forever families for children in care, and the many benefits of adopting a child through the foster care system.

For more information on becoming an adoptive parent, click here .